The Vale welcome Walsall to Vale Park tomorrow, where the Valiants will look to remain unbeaten at home in the league. With the fixture just 24 hours away, we look at some classic matches against the Saddlers.
League One, Vale Park, Saturday 19th March 2005: Port Vale 2-0 Walsall
Vale went into the game in 18th place, still needing points to steer clear of relegation. Vale dominated the first half but Walsall ‘keeper Andy Oakes, formerly on loan at the Vale, made some good saves on his debut to deny Lee Matthews and Craig James.
Six minutes into the second half Vale did break the deadlock when Michael Cummins scored with a thumping header. Six minutes later it was 2-0 as Billy Paynter passed to Matthews and he netted from ten yards. Walsall came close late on when Darren Wrack, who went on to be the Vale’s chief scout, headed against the bar.
Port Vale – Goodlad, Abbey, Rowland, Collins, James, Birchall, Cummins, Hulbert (Brown 45), Sonner, Paynter, Matthews (Eldershaw 84)
Subs not used – Brain, Hansen, Lowndes
Walsall – Oakes, Wright, Bennett (Emblen 82), Roper, Aranalde, Surman (Leitao 61), Merson, Osborn, D.Taylor (Standing 64), Wrack, Fryatt
Subs not used – K.Taylor, Coleman
Division Three, Vale Park, Saturday 27th September 1986: Port Vale 4-1 Walsall
Vale went into the game 16th in the Third Division table, whilst Walsall were in disarray, bottom of the league and having had their previous two games postponed for illness in the camp. Easy game then? Not when it was Walsall, who were undefeated against the Vale for 21 years and 26 games, home and away. Now that is what you call a bogey team!
With striker Richard O’Kelly being out injured, midfielder Jon Bowden played up front as an emergency striker. Vale struggled to get going at first but took the lead in the 35th minute when Andy Jones scored with a shot on the turn.
It was 2-0 just before the hour when Jones intercepted a short back pass by Graeme Forbes and had a shot blocked by ‘keeper Mark Prudhoe. Paul Smith’s follow up shot was also blocked and Jon Bowden then had a shot handled on the line by Andy Dornan. A penalty it was and Andy Jones duly dispatched it having missed one the previous week.
Vale were in full control now and made it 3-0 seven minutes before the end when a Smith cross was firmly headed home by Bowden, who had an excellent game in his unfamiliar role. Two minutes later it was four as Smith and Bowden combined to set up Robbie Earle and he slotted it home as the celebrations began. Walsall managed to score a consolation goal in the last minute when David Kelly had a shot parried by Jim Arnold before knocking the rebound home. The same David Kelly who was a coach at the Vale in the 2016/17 season, with a short spell as caretaker manager.
Port Vale –Arnold, Ebanks, Bromage, Walker, Sproson, Williams, Smith, Earle, A. Jones, Bowden, Maguire
Sub not used - Hunter
Walsall – Prudhoe, Dornan, Mower, Shakespeare, Forbes, Hart, Childs, Palgrave (Rees 56), Kelly, P.Jones, Naughton